Spring has finally sprung across most of North America and that means motorcycles are back on the road.
In our little piece of heaven here in Alberta we have already had several riders killed.
A motorcycle crash happens in the space of a half second.
How many of you have spent any time getting reacquainted with your significant other before heading out on a ride?
Did you check your tire pressures?
Remember you only have two tires making contact on the pavement, you want them to be filled properly so you have maximum traction and control.
How about your fluids? Have you checked your brake fluid?
If your brakes feel spongy and/or need to be bled off, I’d recommend checking to ensure there is no water present.
Water collapses far more than brake oil will, and that can cause that spongy feeling.
Is it milky looking? If it is you most likely have water in your braking system and it needs to be flushed and new fluid and potentially a new gasket will be needed.
Your engine oil, when was it changed last?
Is your air filter free and clean of debris so that your bike’s engine can breath well?
Are your brake pads in good shape and what about your signals, are they working?
Fork seals should be free from leaks and when you pull in your brake lever, your forks should have give to them.
High beam, low beam, headlights should be checked too.
Now that you’ve gone over your baby with a fine tooth comb and you are ready to climb on board, what’s your first order of business?
For me it’s a parking lot 2 blocks from home where I can spend a half hour reacquainting myself with my motorcycle’s weight and my clutch and brake.
A little bit of parking lot time helps me make sure that everything about my bike is performing as expected during a fast/hard stop, during some cone weaving and obstacle maneuvers. A Half hour of reacquainting yourself after 5-7 months off is definitely worth doing in my books.
When you head out, make sure you are watching for those who are not watching for you.
You need to ride like everyone around you is blind and can’t see you.
They aren’t looking for you. They are reading texts, scolding their kids, eating lunch, and basically doing everything but driving.
If you accept that fact and roll with it, you are less likely to fall prey to an inattentive human being.
A rider needs to be like a coyote , always looking for a way out.
When I took my rider training course they drilled into our heads SIPDE - Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide and Execute.
Your head should be on a swivel, constantly scanning the road ahead as well as ditches and side roads.
When you identify a potential hazard or danger, like a car that is pulling up to a stop sign on a side road, you need to predict what that driver is going to do and then decide how you are going to handle things when they pull out in front of you. Then you execute on your decision.
All of this will transpire in the space of seconds.
Be on the lookout constantly, stay focused and aware and enjoy your riding season.
Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider.